Singel 36, Centrum
By appointment only, Natasja Sadi makes what are quite possibly the most beautiful cakes and sugar flowers in the world. Clients fly her around the globe to bake custom cakes for their special occasions (collection can also be arranged from Sadi's Amsterdam address). These culinary masterpieces are created in the kitchen of Sadi's picturesque, Dutch canal house dating from 1776. The baker started her career as a wedding dress designer but after several years realized her passion had moved from the dress to the edible design element of the day—the cake. Wedding gowns are often kept by the bride as a keepsake, or passed on to future generations, and Sadi has adapted this experience to the cake in the form of her incredibly sculptural sugar flowers—made by hand and often taking several weeks to complete—these edible decorations can be kept (frozen) for years, or re-used perhaps on a birthday cake down the line.
Singel 460, Centrum
This glitzy, "American-style" bar is a central part of the newly revived Odeon building, a historical building that's been standing along Amsterdam's central canal since 1662. The bar has two identities, depending on when you arrive. Before dinner, it's a classy cocktail bar with a jewel-toned Art Deco vibe. Later on, things get a little more raucous, as it stays open until the wee hours. Check out the cocktail "laboratory" in the back, where bartenders prepare craft cocktails under an operation lamp.
Hiding in Plain Sight
Rapenburg 18, Centrum
If you looked up "hipster" in the dictionary, it's likely there'd be a picture of Hiding in Plain Sight (or HPS, as locals call it)—and the clientele here would be the first to acknowledge it. Before you roll your eyes at the waiters in vests with waxed moustaches, take a sip of your cocktail; it's likely one of—if not the—best in the city. HPS is also a hangout for local musicians, so check the calendar in advance to find out if anyone's playing while you're in town.
Raamsteeg 2, Centrum
JuiceBrothers was founded by four friends, who decided in the summer of 2013, while on a canal boat, that Amsterdam needed a really good pressed juice place. Two years later, the first JuiceBrothers shop opened in De Pijp, followed by a second location in Amsterdam-West, and another in Centrum. (There's also a JuiceBrothers in the suburbs outside of Amsterdam, in the Amstelveen mall.) JuiceBrothers' main thing is still cold-pressed juice, using as many organic ingredients as possible. But they also make smoothies and serve a limited amount of breakfast (acai bowls, chia pudding, coconut yogurt) and lunch (a couple salads and a coconut wrap), along with some snacks and sweets (kale chips, oat bars, chocolate truffles).
Heisteeg 8, Centrum
This little two-story shop specializes in brands that fit owner Rena Noordermeer’s easy-going aesthetic and produce their wares responsibly. Some are familiar (Juniper Ridge bath products and Herschel backpacks), and some, like color-happy prints from Likeland and the Hear Hear house line of beautiful ceramics, are totally under-the-radar. The best part is that the hanging and potted plants scattered throughout the shop are also for sale.
The Pelican Studio
Raadhuisstraat 35, Centrum
Sprawling, stylized, and impeccably curated—this candy-colored boutique (it’s designed to resemble circa 1980's Miami) is exactly how we picture a Dutch concept store. The brand assortment includes men’s and women’s picks from Maison Kitsune, Norse Projects, and Won Hundred among others, so nothing too experimental but envelope-pushing nonetheless. In addition to a coffee-and-snack bar there’s a pop-up corner dedicated to showcasing individual lines for a month at a time.
Dam 1, Centrum
Situated right in the heart of the city center in Dam Square, the elaborate facade of De Bijenkorf’s flagship store is kind of impossible to miss. This is a traditional European department store, meaning you’ll find everything from fashion to home décor to skincare all in one place. There’s also a great café, a hair salon, and a very respectable art gallery.
Eduard Van Dishoeck
Raamsteeg 1, Centrum
This teeny shop is a treasure trove of antique books, prints, and maps. Eduard van Dishoeck is a fifth generation antiques expert, so you know that whether you walk away with a fun one-of-a-kind souvenir or a valuable collector’s item, it’s the real deal. Stock is sourced from all over the world and tends to turn around frequently, so no two visits are the same.
The American Book Center
Spui 12, Centrum
While you may stop in with the intention of quickly picking up some train or plane reading material, the selection of English-language books—which spans three floors and just about every genre—has been known to keep book lovers browsing for hours. Check the ABC site before your visit for special events like book signings, author readings, and their famously generous sales.
Staalstraat 7B 1011, Centrum
It’s hard to categorize Droog as any one thing since it’s actually a shop, design collective, gallery, café, garden, and micro-hotel (there’s only one guestroom) all spread out over three floors of a single historic house. The shop is stocked with design-y home décor, accessories, and furniture from notable Dutch makers, as well as an area devoted to under-the-radar fashion labels, and a “spa” for beauty products of European origin. Connected to the retail space you’ll find the Fairy Tale Garden—a real-life garden designed by Claude Pasquer and Corinne Détroyat to look like something out of a pop-up book. Set up right next to the garden is Roomservice—a truly special little nook for grabbing a cup of coffee, a glass of wine, or something more substantial, like soup and salad. It’s a lot to take in, we suggest setting aside a good chunk of the day to exploring the space.